Monday, April 12, 2010

A "Stumbling Revolution"

The next couple of years will be crucial for the realization of genuine Japanese democracy. More than that. If the Minshuto leaders succeed in carrying out their aim of creating a cabinet-centered government this will be a grand example for others – one of the very few positive turns of fate in the political life of our planet. But the obstacles to achieving this are formidable. Not only domestic forces but also Washington will seek to torpedo the plans for a truly independent Japan that can stand on its own feet in the world. Understanding those obstacles well could help Japanese citizens contribute to the chances for a good outcome. Japan Focus

The article, Japan's Stumbling Revolution, by Karl van Wolferen, originally published in Chou Koron in Japanese last March is now at Japan Focus in English.

The last time I posted van Wolferen's comments

One must be wary of using the label ‘revolutionary’, but if they [DPJ] succeed this would be appropriate in the context of Japan's controlling political institutions.

it irked one of the commenters who thought DPJ being revolutionary was absurd. I think he missed the key word "if." Today "revolutionary" is still in "if" form and that "if" may seem a little less likely every day. Karl van Wolferen writes that "to call the task that the Minshuto has taken upon itself a heavy one is very, very understated." No doubt about that.

I think his take on the Japanese system is always worth reading. And rereading.

Edited to add: His take on the big newspapers and their "creating political reality as it exists in people's minds" seems especially accurate. I wish I could paste the whole article here, it's very good.

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